IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief

AAA

DEFINITION of 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'

A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that outlines the three types of tax liability relief for spouses or former spouses who filed joint income tax returns. Couples filing a joint tax return are both liable for the tax liability, referred to as joint and several liability. In the case of a separation, the IRS will continue to consider the tax liability status as joint and several, but in some cases will relieve one partner of any tax, interest and penalties related to the joint tax filing.


The three types of relief are innocent spouse relief, separation liability relief and equitable relief.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'

Spouses must complete and file Form 8857 (Request for Innocent Spouse Relief) as soon as they become aware of a liability that they think only the other spouse or former spouse should be liable for. Spouses or former spouses have up to two years from the date the IRS first tried to collect the tax liability to seek relief. The IRS is then obligated to contact the spouse or former spouse to notify them that Form 8857 was filed.


Married spouses who file separate returns but live in community-property states may also seek relief.


IRS Publication 971 does not cover injured spouse relief.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Form 8857: Request For Innocent ...

    An IRS tax form used by taxpayers to request relief from a tax ...
  2. Equitable Relief

    A court-granted remedy that requires a party to act or refrain ...
  3. Innocent-Spouse Rule

    A measure of relief built into the tax code that allows a person, ...
  4. Filing Status

    A category that defines the type of tax return form an individual ...
  5. Married Filing Separately

    A filing status for married couples who choose to record their ...
  6. Married Filing Jointly

    A filing status for married couples that have wed before the ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can I get a tax credit from conducting research and development?

    It is possible for a company to qualify for a research and development tax credit for conducting research and development. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does neoclassical economics relate to neoliberalism?

    While it may be likely that many neoliberal thinkers endorse the use of (or even emphasize) neoclassical economics, the two ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the main risks to the economy of a country that has implemented a policy ...

    The main risk to the economy of a country that has implemented a policy of austerity is the potential for a self-reinforcing, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the major laws (acts) regulating financial institutions that were created ...

    Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in conjunction with Congress, signed into law several major legislative responses ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How should a whistleblower report unlawful or unethical behavior?

    Whistleblowing takes many forms. A whistleblower could expose government corruption, expose unethical business behavior or ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the government's role and what is the private sector's role in neoliberalism?

    Neoliberalist economic theory supports minimization of government intervention and laissez-faire policy. Neoliberalism is ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Before You Visit Your Tax Preparer: Do This

    The earlier you start preparing your tax records and documents, the more likely you are to have a smooth tax return experience – and all the tax benefits you're due.
  2. Taxes

    Happily Married? File Taxes Separately!

    Just because you are in love doesn't mean that a joint return is best for both of you.
  3. Taxes

    Taxing Times For Divorced Parents

    Find out how to deal with the tax issues that arise for divorced parents with dependent children.
  4. Taxes

    The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse

    Check out the perks designed to promote and preserve your post-work savings - if you're married, that is.
  5. Economics

    What is a Resident Alien?

    A resident alien is a foreigner who is a permanent resident of the country in which he or she resides but does not have citizenship.
  6. Economics

    Explaining Protectionism

    Protectionism is government measures that limit imports into a country to protect commerce within that country against foreign competition.
  7. Taxes

    Have Household Help? Don't Get In Tax Trouble

    Hiring household workers can be a complicated process. Know what the government requires so you can prevent penalties and problems down the road.
  8. Taxes

    Estate Planning for a Surviving Spouse

    Estate planning for surviving spouses can be difficult for a number of reasons, so it's important to have good support and financial advice.
  9. Professionals

    Gay Marriage Ruling: Its Impact on Estate Planning

    Same-sex couples now face the same legal and financial issues as heterosexual couples; some may need to adopt simpler, more mainstream financial plans.
  10. Retirement

    Roth 401(k) Vs. Roth IRA: Which One Is Better?

    It all depends on your age, your income - and your plans for your retirement nest egg.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. American Dream

    The belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version ...
  2. Multicurrency Note Facility

    A credit facility that finances short- to medium-term Euro notes. Multicurrency note facilities are denominated in many currencies. ...
  3. National Currency

    The currency or legal tender issued by a nation's central bank or monetary authority. The national currency of a nation is ...
  4. Treasury Yield

    The return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the debt obligations of the U.S. government. Treasuries are considered ...
  5. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
  6. European Central Bank - ECB

    The central bank responsible for the monetary system of the European Union (EU) and the euro currency. The bank was formed ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!